September 26th, 2017

A Beginners Guide to Canning and Preserving

Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.

Woman In Kitchen Listing Ingredients In Vegetable Preserves

Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.

If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?

So where do you begin? First, you need some equipment:

  • Large stockpot, deep enough to completely cover your jars
  • Canning jars
  • Canning lids (these will come with jars if you buy a new set!)
  • Jar lifter
  • Lid lifter
  • Funnel

We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.

Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!

Pickled cucumbers, homemade preserved on wooden table

If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)

Next, as a beginner, follow a recipe!

Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.

Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!

Bell pepper preserves - London Drugs Blog

There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.

Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!



September 26th, 2017

Disorganized Mornings? We Take Care of That.

Do you have trouble getting your kids to do their morning tasks, and getting them out the door before school? Here’s one clever (and tasty) trick that makes it fun for kids to complete their morning tasks. This little life hack will have you out the door on time with smiling kids. The answer to disorganized mornings is here!

Disorganized mornings? We take care of that.

  1. Grab a few popsicle sticks (treat your kids to one a day before!)
  2. Use classic markers to colour the top of each popsicle stick
  3. Use a sharpie to write different morning tasks on each one
  4. Make bed…Wash face…Brush teeth…anything to encourage them to get ready!
  5. Grab two mason jars–mark one for the to do’s and one for done
  6. Get out the door and off to school!


Need other great tips and tricks to make life easier? Check out more of our helpful LD Solutions Videos on YouTube or individually here on the London Drugs Blog:

How to Fix a Cracked Makeup Palette

How to De-Wrinkle a Shirt in a Jiffy

How to Remove a Ring Stuck on Your Finger

How to Easily Remove a Stripped Screw

How to Peel Potatoes without a Peeler

How to Remove Nail Polish from Your Skin

How to Cure Bootflop



September 14th, 2017

How to Take Your Laundry to the Next Level

Doing laundry is necessary, of course, but it takes time and energy—and we know there are ways to save a little of both.

You probably already know to wash your clothes in cold water to save energy and hang your clothes to dry. Now try these next-level tips to truly up your laundry game.

Next Level Laundry Tips with London Drugs

Vinegar Magic

Vinegar is a magical cleaning tool. You probably already use it to clean your microwave or other kitchen appliances, but it’s amazing in the laundry room too.

If your sweaty workout gear is a little too fragrant, pre-soak it in a vinegar solution. The technical, sweat-wicking fabrics that work so well during exercise are actually harder to clean; the vinegar helps cut through your body’s oils to eliminate that smelly bacteria.

And vinegar doesn’t just clean, it also softens fabrics! Add ¼ to 1 cup of white vinegar to your washer during the final rinse cycle instead of a traditional fabric softener. (You’ve already got the vinegar in your pantry—you might as well use it, right?)

Don’t forget, too, that washing machines also need to be cleaned regularly, along with your clothes. You can use vinegar to clean your washing machine itself, too–it’s easy and cost-effective!

Delicates

Hand washing is best for delicates, but when you need to throw them in the washer make sure you use a mesh laundry bag. It keeps them protected from rubbing against other fabrics that may lead to pilling while the mesh still lets in water and detergent to get them clean. There are even specially designed laundry bags for bras, with padded mesh to protect the cup shape. It’s still advisable to use the delicate mode on your washer, but the mesh laundry bags will protect your delicates even more.

When you do hand wash, there’s no handy spin cycle to remove that excess water. You can mimic your washer’s spin cycle using a salad spinner (make sure you only use this salad spinner for laundry!), or you can lay your garment flat on a clean dry towel and roll it all up. Some more gentle pressing helps the towel soak up that water gently. It’s much safer than wringing the water out.

Laundry Basket - Next Level Laundry with London Drugs

Easy breezy

There are lots of little things you can do that will make your laundry life so much easier. Post a note by your washer to remind yourself about any items that need particular care: those that need to be washed separately, can’t go in the dryer, etc. This is especially important if you share laundry duties with a family member! You can use a dry erase board to easily update your laundry notes.

You might also try dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They do the same thing—soften fabrics, speed up drying time–plus they’re reusable.

And those mesh laundry bags you use for your delicates? Keep your socks in there to ensure they all come out of the dryer! In fact, you can give one mesh bag to each family member to make it even easier to sort socks later. Never lose a sock again.

What are some of your favourite #laundrytips? Let us know on Twitter!



August 17th, 2017

Raise Your Backyard Party Game with These Accessories

It’s that time of year when your browser history reveals the hours spent ogling other people’s backyards. It’s hard not to think of all the decor changes you could make for your outdoor space, from accent colours to string lights. Here are a few scenes to recreate this year (or someday soon). When inspiration hits, London Drugs has the accessories you need to raise your backyard game.

Tractor Chic

Taking inspiration from the farms of Alberta, tractor-themed accessories (like these sweet solar lights and milking stools and matching tractor table) can transform your backyard into a rustic chic haven. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, channel the classic red barn door with this sharp patio set.

Steel and Magnolias

Do you love the smell of fresh herbs? The most fabulous gardens combine opposites in beautiful ways, like these pretty blooms planted up in old buckets. Pot basil, chives, and other garnishes in this cool wrought iron planter for a lovely scented centrepiece.

Backyard Party on the Patio

In the light-filled summer months, we’re more keen to stay up late and dine al fresco, sharing laughs and meals with friends. Set the mood with delicate fairy lights or a pathway of solar-powered torches for an outdoor space you can enjoy all night long.

Soundscaping

The perfect evening get-together needs an audio experience to match the lovely conversation with friends. Hardy waterproof speakers allow you to choose a complementary soundtrack for any backyard soiree.

Stay Warm

Let’s not forget that Canadian necessity for summer evenings: the fire pit. Redesigned as bowls, tabletops and glass aquariums, London Drugs has many to choose from. Just decide on your backyard’s theme and enhance with an engaging fire feature. Always practice fire safety and pay close attention to fire bans in your area.


 

The time you spend with friends and family in your backyard will undoubtedly become treasured memories for years to come. Find all the gorgeous accoutrements you need from London Drugs online and in-store from our Outdoor Living Guide.



May 18th, 2017

Emergency Preparedness 101: How to Build a Basic Emergency Kit

If an emergency situation developed quickly, would you know what to do? In the event of flooding, a natural disaster, or an earthquake, it’s important to be prepared. Experts agree that you need to be prepared to survive for 72 hours with the possibility of having no water or power.

Key things to have in your emergency kit are:

  1. Water – estimate four litres per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
  2. Food – gather food that won’t spoil such as canned goods, protein energy bars, dried fruits, and meal replacement beverages. Don’t forget to pack the can opener. Include hard candies, chocolate, and gum in your kit as a lift for your senses.
  3. Essentialsflashlights, extra batteries, candles, matches, garbage bags, a blanket, hand sanitizer, whistle, and a small mirror are all must-haves.
  4. First Aid – ensure your first aid kit is up to date and medications have not expired, include gauze, pads and tape along with an assortment of bandages. Include several pairs of disposable latex gloves, face masks, antibacterial hand wash, and a small pair of scissors.
  5. Battery-powered or a wind-up AM/FM radio to keep updated on current conditions.
  6. Seasonal clothing and footwear along with a dust mask in case of poor air quality.
  7. Entertainment – cards or any other board games. Crossword puzzle or pocket book to keep you occupied while waiting for the power to return.
  8. Additional non-essential but important items include duct tape, Swiss army knife, Kleenex, toilet paper, city map, and recent photographs of loved ones in case of separation.

Prepared emergency kits are available from London Drugs, SOS Emergency Response Technologies, and St. John Ambulance, but you can pack your bag to suit your family’s needs. All of these items should be ideally stored in a conveniently located and durable backpack.

During an emergency, if a London Drugs store is able to remain open, we will offer:

  • PharmacyContact us at Customer Service for the latest information on your local store and for any urgent pharmacy inquiries 1-888-991-2299
  • Charging Stations – we will have charging stations available for your electronic devices
  • Supplies and emergency kits – our staff will be happy to help you find an emergency kit or help you to create your own that fits your needs
  • Batteries and Lighting, Candles – we’re here to help with emergency lighting needs from flashlights, batteries to candles
  • Water – It is always important to have an emergency supply of water at the ready
  • Less Urgent Inquiries –  We’ll field any question at ldonline@londondrugs.com

Emergency preparedness is always a good idea. Educate yourself, your family, and your friends on the potential risks, create a plan, and stay prepared for any situation that might arise. 



May 11th, 2017

7 Bizarre Products You Will Love

At London Drugs, we sell everything from cameras to candy, lipsticks to memory sticks. So it’s no shock that some of our many products are a bit, well…bizarre. And that’s okay. We love being surprised by some of our weirdly wonderful items.

Once before, we celebrated our favourite odd appliances. This time we broadened our scope to include all things nifty, neato, and unexpected.

Enjoy!

Gidget Widget Cube

The concept of old-fashioned stress balls is taken to a new level with widget cubes. They keep your hands occupied with a six-sided barrage of buttons, balls, wheels, and levers all designed to take your mind off your stress.

Bike Brightz

Bike Brightz help keep you safe and seen at night, and there’s nothing bizarre about that! But we can’t help thinking how awesome they make bikes look. Remember those souped-up cars from our favourite early-2000s action movies? Us too. Vrrroooom.

Belkin Rockstar 5x Splitter

You’re having a listening party but need to keep it down for the neighbours, baby, grandparents, etc. You’ve been there, right? Well, even if not, you can surely appreciate how handy this nifty five-way earphone splitter would be. So it’s PARTY ON…quietly.

Hardbite Beet Chips

Included for two reasons. First, these beet chips may seem bizarre to those trapped in a “potatoes only” chips mindset. Psst…they’re actually amazing. Second, we’re suckers for a good pun. Mad beets? Oh, that’s rich. (Also try: 18 Carrot Gold and Eat Your Parsnips)

Cover Blubber Food Saver

If you think these reusable food savers were included because they resemble a family of neon, outer-space blowfish, you’re only partly right. Wait till you feel how mind-blowingly stretchy they are, too. They work like a charm and are great for the environment.

iHome Bluetooth Dual Alarm Clock

This “clock” does everything. It wakes you up with progressive sound and light meant to mimic a natural sunrise, but also plays streaming music, can be used as a speakerphone, and glows in five selectable hues. Plus, it looks like a giant frog’s eye. So that’s pretty neat.

Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker

This list would be incomplete without a funky breakfast tool (sorry, we’re all sold out of the classic 3-in-1). But this one’s an award-winner based on consumer surveys, so you know it works great. Why bother making breakfast sandwiches in stages like a schlub. Instead, do it all at once and make two sandwiches at a time!

The best part? You can pick up these and other wacky, wonderful items at London Drugs in store or online. Until next time: keep it weird, Canada.



October 6th, 2016

8 Clever Hacks for Your Kitchen Appliances

There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.

Cheese Grater

kitchen cooking hacks

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.

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